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The Depression – Substance Abuse Cycle and the Need for Rehab Treatment Help

As far as tag teams go, depression and substance abuse tend to go hand-in-hand regardless of which condition comes first. According to Roseman University of Health Sciences, nearly one out of every five Americans will develop a mental illness like depression or some form of addiction at some point in their lifetimes.

It’s not uncommon for people experiencing depression symptoms to turn to alcohol and/or drugs to gain relief. On the flipside, someone who abuses alcohol or drugs for prolonged periods of time will likely experience depression symptoms on a regular basis.

When these two conditions co-exist, it’s only a matter of time before a vicious cycle of substance abuse and depression symptoms start to take shape. For these reasons, it’s essential to get needed rehab help as this cycle will continue to spiral out of control for as long as a person keeps using drugs.

Depression & Substance Abuse: Two Sides of the Same Coin

depression and substance abuse

Substance abuse can cause and often worsens already existing depression.

Depression develops out of chemical imbalances in the brain that trigger impaired logic, reasoning and emotional-based processes. In turn, the symptoms that result from depression, such as sadness, feelings of guilt and shame only work to strengthen existing brain chemical imbalances.

In the case of substance abuse, both alcohol and drugs interfere with the brain’s normal chemical activity, creating a state of increasing chemical imbalance over time. Likewise, most all forms of substance abuse and addiction produce worsening symptoms of depression as chemical imbalances become more pronounced.

Brain Chemical Pathway Effects

While depression and substance abuse do have different causes, both produce the same overall effects on the brain’s chemical make-up. According to the University of Utah Health Sciences, addiction and mental illness in general are brain diseases that share certain key similarities:

  • Both conditions affect the same chemical pathways in the brain
  • Both conditions interfere with the brain’s normal chemical processes
  • Both conditions disrupt dopamine outputs, a mood-regulating neurotransmitter that plays a central role in regulating the brain’s reward system
  • Both conditions interfere with serotonin outputs, another mood-regulating neurotransmitter chemical

What you Must Know About Dual Diagnosis

Dual Diagnosis Disorder

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, dual diagnosis disorder develops in cases where depression and substance abuse co-occur. With dual diagnosis, the symptoms of both conditions tend to feed off one another due to the overall impact on the brain’s chemical balance. This means, depression symptoms will trigger drug-using urges and drug effects will aggravate depression symptoms. This vicious cycle of depression and substance abuse makes both conditions that much harder to identify and treat as the two sets of symptoms can be difficult to distinguish from one another.

The Need for Rehab Treatment Help

According to the Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration, as the most prevalent form of mental illness, an estimated eight percent of Americans experienced depression within any given two-week period between the years 2007 and 2010. For people struggling with depression, alcohol and drugs offer seemingly convenient and effective ways of relieving emotional turmoil and stress. Over time, the effects of these addictive substances cause considerably more harm than good.

If you or someone you know struggles with depression and substance abuse issues, it’s never too soon to consider getting needed treatment help. If you have any further questions about the depression-substance abuse cycle, please feel free to call our toll-free helpline at 800-481-6320Who Answers? for more information. Our phone counselors can also help with locating treatment programs in your area.

More Rehab Centers Resources

Massachusetts Man Charged with Child Assault, Drug Trafficking

Michal Tibbetts, a 23-year old Massachusetts resident, was arrested Wednesday, March 21, 2018. He is faced with the charges of assaulting a child a running a drug manufacturing and trafficking organization out of his home in South Shore, which together, total 9 counts. The drugs he was distributing include marijuana, ecstasy, molly, Adderall, and potentially….

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How Methadone Treatment Centers Work

addiction treatment

According to recent estimates, there are almost one million people in the United States addicted to heroin and other opiates. While some of these people take the time to learn more about their addiction, including the best treatment options, others continue to abuse the drug with no concern for what type of trouble it could….

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Importance of Trust Building in Drug Rehab Centers

trust building

Trust building for patients in drug rehab centers is an important exercise; patients must learn to trust those around them in treatment (such as doctors, nurses, and therapists) as well as sometimes re-learning to trust their family and friends. In addition, patients must learn the importance of honesty so others can begin to trust them…..

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Will an Intervention Help my Teen into Drug Rehab?

Parents well know how the physical changes characteristic of the teenage years affect their teens from day to day. For many teens, making this transition from childhood to adulthood can feel like walking a tightrope with no safety net in tow. Today’s teenagers contend with issues and pressures unlike any faced by previous generations. Unfortunately,….

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What to Bring With you to Inpatient Drug Rehab

You should know what is truly important to take to inpatient drug rehab.

Once you’ve decided to get help, you’ve chosen an inpatient drug rehab center for your treatment needs and you’ve decided on a date to be admitted to the program you’ll have to start packing your bags for your extended stay in treatment. What do you bring? Some things are not acceptable in inpatient drug rehab….

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10 things to avoid on Holiday furlough from Rehab

Some inpatient rehab facilities offer a holiday furlough to patients who are doing particularly well in their program. If you are on a holiday furlough, there are things that you need to avoid in order to prevent relapse and to keep your standing as a successful rehab patient. 1. Try to Avoid Stress Although according….

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Signs that Putting off Alcohol Rehab for the Holidays is a Bad Idea

For someone battling an alcohol abuse problem, the decision to enter alcohol rehab doesn’t come easily. Alcohol’s effects on the brain warp a person’s logic and reasoning abilities, so troubling circumstances or the negative consequences from drinking have likely brought about a change of heart in a big way. With the holidays well under way,….

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Choosing Between Cocaine Rehab Centers

There are hundreds of rehab centers across the United States. Most of them advertise cocaine addiction treatment, but which do you choose? Choosing between the different cocaine rehab centers may be difficult if you have never been to rehab before. Fortunately there are a few things that will help you choose the cocaine rehab that….

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You May Need Alcohol Rehab If…

You’re a drinker. Maybe you always have been. But it’s not a problem. Or is it? According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), drinking is excessive for men who drink four to five drinks at one occasion and women who drink two to three and that for over 17 million Americans,….

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Why go to a Specialized Rehab?

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, treatment needs to be personalized in order for it to work. Each drug acts differently and each person with an addiction is an individual. With hundreds of drug addictions and dual diagnosis combinations it is important to find the treatment center that works with your individual addiction…..

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